Venom Hypersensitivity / Insect Sting Allergy

Insects that trigger allergic reactions include bees, wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and fire ants. Anaphylaxis is the most severe form of allergic reaction that can occur with insect stings: causing any combination of dizziness, weakness or unconsciousness, throat tightness or difficulty breathing, itching, and hives (welts) of the skin. The reaction usually starts within minutes (rarely more than 30-60 minutes) after the sting.

If you have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting in the past, you have an approximate 60 percent chance of a similar or more serious reaction when you are stung again. A board-certified allergist can help.


The warning signs may appear quickly (within minutes). The symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives in the form of a red, raised welt that spreads beyond the sting
  • Swelling of the face, throat or mouth
  • Wheezing or difficulty swallowing
  • Restlessness & anxiety
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure
  • Itchy eyes, nose, throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Coughing
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea or vomiting

What Action should you take....Immediate action can be a lifesaver!!

Seek emergency care immediately.

Acute allergic reactions to insect stings are reversed by treatment with a drug called epinephrine. If you have had such a reaction in the past, you may be instructed to keep epinephrine with you at all times so you can self-inject this medication if you are stung.

Long term Cure – Consultation with an allergist!!

Talk to your doctor. This severe allergic reaction can happen again but can be prevented with the help of good medical advice. Consultation with an allergist to discuss avoidance of stings, emergency treatment and self-treatment measures, and a preventative venom immunotherapy program to eliminate the danger.

First step – Venom hypersensitivity test

The first step is to identify the particular insect venom that has caused the reaction, and this is accomplished by visiting an allergist office, who takes a careful history and performs skin test with a very weak solution of the venom. Need for venom immunotherapy is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Prevent severe reactions with venom immunotherapy (stinging insect allergy shots)

Our board-certified allergists can treat you to prevent future reactions to insect stings. Venom immunotherapy involves administering gradually increasing doses of venom that caused your reaction. The dose of the venom is increased until it finally reaches the point where it is equivalent to one or two actual insect stings, and in time the patient’s immune system changes sufficiently so that it tolerates the venom normally. Such treatment gives almost 100% protection against subsequent reactions, and if a reaction does occur, it is usually mild and not life-threatening. A board-certified allergist at The Allergy Group can determine if you are a candidate for venom immunotherapy (stinging insect allergy shots).

The Allergy Group – Friendly, capable and experienced

Our team of physicians and healthcare professionals at The Allergy Group are highly experienced and trained to provide you with the best care. We are committed to your personal healthcare. Be safe. Don’t take risk. Call 208-377-4000 today or use our online form to schedule an appointment.